I think that every one of us, perfume lovers, has a perfume in their life that they got to know at the early stage of their fragrance hobby and that still has important value for you, no matter if you got a bottle of it or not. Such perfume for me is Iris 39 from Le Labo. The first time I got to try it was thanks to a friend who lives in the US and with who I exchanged perfume samples. Mind you up until today there is no single Le Labo counter in entire Poland which is a shame.
I was really excited back then to try something new and hard to reach for me. I treasured those few drops I got and used just the tiniest smears to enjoy it. On my skin Iris 39 opens in a slightly animalic way effusing the smell of civet combined with patchouli. This concoction effects in rather pleasant and kind of earthy vibe that has something damp and moist about it. After around 10 minutes I start to smell the iris. On me it’s really really powdery but in a more cosmetic, make-up kind of way rather than smelling like talcum or rice powder. What I really like about this Le Labo scent is the way it changes and develops after some time.
Iris being the central part of this composition doesn’t remain steady but it moves and shifts. After presenting its powdery facet it becomes a little bit more rooty just for a little while. Then it blooms with thousands of flowers… of violets. When they enter the scene Le Labo Iris 39 actually starts to smell really cold and reserved on my skin. Violets introduce this clean aroma that is a bit overwhelming. It feels transparent but it had enormous depth and impressive volume.
After some time a very clean, almost detergent accord of musk comes up from the structure of Iris 39 and that’s when the smell of this fragrance totally makes me think of fresh laundry, especially cotton bed sheets that have been pinned to a string to dry in the air and in the sun – all this in the middle of the flowery meadow. That’s the imagery that I get while smelling this fragrance. The longer I have it on my skin the weaker this violet part seems to be and at some point this blend becomes quite citric on my skin.
I can smell the specific ginger zing that has the vibe of a lemon peel and it’s combined with juicy lime. Musk loses its clean, laundry edge and now it becomes more creamy and sweet. Note of ylang-ylang intensifies this creamy effect which is additionally highlighted by the floralities of this flower itself and also with a bit of dewy, musky rose. Composition of Iris 39 from Le Labo also mentions cardamom but to be honest I didn’t smell any spicy elements in this perfume.
Modern and quite futuristic approach of Le Labo, which is proud of creating fragrances in one of their lab on demand when you order it (so that you get the juice that was just made) got quite a lot of fans around the world. Personally I like the individual touch of having the possibility of having your own name on the label as well as the name of person who mixed the fragrance for you. Funny note – I remember reading somewhere that Iris 39 has more patchouli in it than Le Labo Patchouli 24. To me this is outgoing take on iris.
Le Labo Iris 39 was composed by perfumer Frank Voelkl and the fragrance is getting a little bit old-ish now, as it was released in 2006. I pretty much enjoy this fragrance, its lasting power of 8 hours on my skin is great and sillage is decent as well. Possibly I would buy a bottle or a travel set if that was available in Poland. For the moment, I’m set with my decant (thank you, you know who you are!). This eau de parfum comes in different bottles sizes, travel sets as well as in perfume oil, solid perfume and bath & body range. With recent acquisition of Le Labo by Estee Lauder concern I’ll be curious to see what comes next for this brand.